A Conversation with Greg Thornbury: Wokeness, COVID Truthiness, the Consequences of Trumpism and Much More

My series of blogcasts this summer was fun and well received so I thought I would follow up with some additional conversations. The first one drops today and features Greg Thornbury, Vice President for Development at New York Academy of Art in NYC. Greg was once president of The King’s College in NYC and has a long history in evangelical institutions. I continue to get positive feedback about our first interview.

Greg and I discuss Eric Metaxas’ punch and run episode, COVID truthers, Al Mohler’s shift to Trumpism, the meaning of the recent conservative attacks on wokeness, and the potential bitter consequences of Trumpism.

Hope you find something of interest and enjoy the conversation. Please feel free to comment below.

Gregory Alan Thornbury, Ph.D., has been a college philosophy and theology professor, dean, and president of The King’s College in New York City. In addition to several books on theology and culture, he is the author of Why Should The Devil Have All the Good Music: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock (Random House, 2018) – a critically acclaimed biography that has been reviewed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and was awarded as the most influential book in arts and culture by Christianity Today for 2019. A popular writer and speaker on philosophy, religion, and the arts, he currently serves as Senior Vice President at the New York Academy of Art in Tribeca, founded by Andy Warhol. He is also a consultant for Good Country Pictures, who is currently working on film adaptations of the short stories and novels of Willa Cather, Walker Percy, and Flannery O’Connor for film and television.

You can see all posts about these interviews by clicking this link.

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13 thoughts on “A Conversation with Greg Thornbury: Wokeness, COVID Truthiness, the Consequences of Trumpism and Much More”

  1. I admit that over these last five years I have increasingly been on a crusade against narcissism in what claims to be “Christian.” Our culture loves the narcissists in our fallen and dark human heroes. They entertain us. They are the nasty bosses that we serve in our corporations. They are our politicians. They are even our grandstanding humanitarians running the biggest charities for big bucks while dressed like the wolves and foxes that they actually are. And yet they take whatever they have at hand, including various kinds of religions, in order to make themselves great and the very center of attention and devotion by their fans. Third parties who are also narcissists or Machiavellians write books about them in order to get a little of their glory and spotlights on themselves.

    I say all this because of the Outlaw Larry Norman who led Randy Stonehill in a sinners prayer as a teenager in his own house, only to later sleep with Randy’s wife and then steal her away from him. The documentary made by those who knew Norm best describe him as a great liar and a manipulator who used people with no conscience. Looking at this guys book, looks like he white-washes a guy who was worse than Judas. I cannot get past that, so why would I want to read anything this Phd. guy wrote or his opinion on anything? I do not know why the Professor is interviewing people like this? Surely a professor of psychology knows what narcissism is. He has shown a big spotlight on some very evil people like Driscoll, Yohannan and others. Yet most of the people he has been interviewing lately are clearly people who have profited by either promoting or supporting this evil as they masquerade as “Angels of Light.” Yet what they do is clear and condemns them. Who cares what these people think or say about anything? These men do not know Jesus, other to use what very, very little they know about Him to make some Mammon off of the damned by God worship of celebrities. Their is only One celebrity, because He made everything that is and then went even farther to die in order to redeem a remnant of people from their own evil natures. Norman was a snake. No one should be still profiting off of him. What we say means nothing. What we actually do is everything. By that we prove that we are either sheep or goats. I could care less about what the Phd’s say or the celebrities. I prefer the little people just doing good without all the applause signs and cameras following them around. The book likes a pile of #$%! That someone would give themselves to spending so much time to write such a thing, then have no conscience about promoting it is all that needs to be pointed out. I see nothing good here at all…

    1. I say “y’know” a lot for a person with a JD. I know this. It’s hard to train out this verbal tic. That said, when I’m trying to get someone to do something, and they’re being a bit resistant, leaning into a “y’know, if we don’t do X, then Y might happen and we wouldn’t want that, right?” is just an easier conversation to have. (I spend my days talking to techies.)

  2. Gregory Alan Thornbury, Ph.D., has been a college philosophy and theology professor, dean, and president of The King’s College in New York City.

    I can’t get over how YOUNG the guy looks.

    And I have a real hard time listening to the interviews because of his verbal tic of “Y’Know” almost every other word. (I live in California, and that verbal tic is associated with “Valley Girl” airheads with Dunning-Kruger scores as high as Anakin’s Midichlorians.) If you could somehow edit out all the “Y’Knows”, the audio would be much easier to listen to.

  3. This was amazing. I would normally jot notes but I plan to transcribe this conversation. That stream of thought woke me up to Christianity again. Thanks for providing the space, the right questions and the right listening so that it could happen.

  4. Another comment I wanted to make on this discussion was about the John Fea column about christians giving up on the faith due to Trumpism. This isn’t a new problem, it has just been seriously accelerated under Trump. 10 – 20 years ago, there were reports about how younger people were leaving the christian churches due to their stances on same-sex marriage (and I suspect other such intolerant attitudes on the social justice front). However, Trump’s supporters have gone way beyond the “anti-gay marriage” into locking up children in cages and tearing apart families.

    A big part of Trump’s support came from a backlash against same-sex marriage and other “anti-religious” progressive policies (i.e. the whole “war on christians” claims). When Trump became president, all of the more extreme elements (not just in christianity either) came out proudly proclaiming their biases. Further, those that didn’t “kiss the ring” where marginalized. Honestly, I’m not sure which I consider to be worse, those that gladly became “Court Evangelicals” or those that joined in for fear of losing their authority.

    I imagine there are a lot of christians who recognize that Trump is “the dauphin at the revivalist meeting” and seeing how many christian “leaders” are blinded by his con or worse, excusing it for their own ends. I’m going to be very curious to see what happens to these Trump supporters after he is out of office.

    1. They have their own media bubble, and a fanatically loyal base of tens of millions of supporters who are absolutely convinced of their righteousness. Sadly I don’t think they’re going anywhere.

      1. I get that they have their own bubbles, but now that they have backed this philandering, racist, xenophobic president, those bubbles are likely to shrink. Those in their 30s and younger had already been pulling away, this is likely to accelerate the exodus. Black churches have questioning whether they are truly welcome in the large community orgs (SBC etc). Again, this isn’t new, but it also has accelerated.

        Trump has clearly exposed the hypocrisy of these “christian leaders.” While Trump can get away with blatantly lying, it is not as easy for others. Ex. if you want to shut down Al Mohler, just ask him: “Have you apologized to Bill Clinton yet?”

        Further, if there is a “blue wave” that happens, these “leaders” influence in government is going to be severally hamstrung, and those bubbles they are in are going to seem a lot smaller.

        1. If there is a “blue wave”, I fully expect Armed Militia Resistance, AKA “Turner Diaries: The Live Role-Playing Game”.

    2. (i.e. the whole “war on christians” claims)

      Also known as “Persecution Porn”.

  5. A few things I want to comment on this discussion (which was I really liked). I’ll start with the term “Pro-life”. That has always meant “anti-abortion.” It is just that when the movement started, they didn’t want to appear “negative” so they named themselves “Pro-life” rather than “anti-abortion”. In your discussion you and Greg seemed to indicate that the term meant more than that. Also, it was never about social justice. an old joke (from the 80s I believe) was that the Moral Majority believed you had rights up until the day you were born.

  6. Not sure if this was intentional, on your blog home page the video link is just to the 2 min teaser, but if you click on the blog post, the link goes to the full video.

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